Performance – Processor, General, Storage Devices

So, all that heat has to translate to some pretty impressive performance, right? As it turns out, yes. If there’s one area where the MSI GE40 really impresses, it’s in its size to performance ratio. Let’s get down to some hard data to help illustrate this.

In light of the obvious comparisons to other, larger Haswell-based gaming notebooks, our first choices for comparison throughout our performance tests in today’s review will be the 17.3-inch ASUS G750JX-DB71 (i7-4700HQ, 16 GB DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M w/ 3 GB GDDR5) and the 15.6-inch MSI GT60 2OD-026US (i7-4700MQ, 16 GB DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M w/ 4 GB GDDR5). We’ll also throw the Lenovo Y500 (i7-3630QM, 16 GB DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M x 2 in SLI) in where applicable, as well as another odd candidate here and there as results allow.

Performance – Processor

We’ll start with CPU performance, as always. Suffice it to say that the speed of the quad-core i7-4702MQ won’t leave you disappointed; it’s not only a ridiculously fast CPU, it’s amazing to have such power in such a portable machine. With a TDP of 37 W and a max Turbo Boost frequency of 3.2 GHz, it’s only marginally below the performance level of the popular 4700MQ (on paper anyway), and it’s considerably more power-conscious.

Let’s start with Sandra as always:

Reasonably good results here, and certainly adequate for any sort of gaming, anyway. Although it’s the weakest of the field, the i7-4702MQ is more than strong enough unless you are planning on some seriously heavy CPU-related activities (such as lots of high-res video encoding for instance). For nearly all other applications, you won’t even notice the difference.

To Cinebench R11.5:

Here again our CPU measurements report the lowest values of the chosen participants (though single-core performance edges out the Y500’s)—but here again, the differences are mostly negligible. The G750JX and GT60 are clearly equipped with the more powerful CPU, but it’s also saddled with a 10W higher TDP (47W vs 37W), and it’s ultimately only around 19% faster. We say don’t sweat it.

7-zip’s up next:

Again, congruence with our previous findings. No further explanation needed here.

Let’s shift gears slightly to the Peacekeeper browser benchmark:

Peacekeeper is primarily a single-threaded affair, and so it makes sense that our results follow the trends of our other single-threaded tests. No surprises here either, just another solid showing by a 37 W TDP CPU.

Application Performance

Given its solid state drive for primary storage, the GE40 ought to have no trouble with general application performance. The machine certainly feels speedy enough subjectively… but to help quantify these sentiments, we turn to PCMark 7:

As we would hope, these results are both unsurprising and reassuring. The GE40 only slightly trails the larger gaming notebooks, with the Y500 left in the dust due to its lack of fully solid-state storage. To compare scores above 5,000 or so in PCMark 7 is to split hairs.

You may have noticed in our earlier photos that there is only a single stick of RAM installed. The benefit to this, of course, is that it would be easy to upgrade to 16 GB of memory should the urge arise. The drawback is that—of course—the single SODIMM makes the default configuration single-channel by definition. It’s not a big deal, but it’s worth mentioning. If you’re planning on upgrades, one of the first and most sensible modifications you could make would be plugging in an additional stick of 8 GB DDR3-1600 MHz RAM to accompany the lone factory-installed SODIMM.

Performance – Storage Devices

Our GE40 review unit came equipped with a SanDisk SD6SF1M128G 120 GB SSD paired with a Hitachi HTS727575A9E364 7200 RPM 750 GB HDD for storage. The result is considerably faster than any comparable SSD caching solution (such as that found in lower-cost models such as Lenovo’s Y500), and the results are articulated by our synthetic benchmarks.

First, we take a look at AS SSD:

These aren’t the highest speeds we’ve seen in an SSD (especially in terms of the sequential read value), but they’re absolutely adequate nonetheless. The 4K values are what really define perceptual speed anyway, and there, the drive has no deficiencies. The overall score of 613 is quite good.

As always, we turn to ATTO next:

ATTO’s take on the SSD is predictably consistent. The read/writes of lower-sized chunks are great, which helps to explain the snappy performance we experienced when moving around the OS.

How about the standard mechanical hard drive?

Pretty unremarkable, but again, it’s thankfully not the primary storage device.

CrystalDiskMark’s take on both devices:

And finally, HD Tune:

Overall, quick performance from the SanDisk solid state drive (though sequential rates could be better), and middling (yet sufficient) performance from the hard drive.

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